christmas truce ww2

The most detailed of these stories comes from the German side, and reports that the 133rd Royal Saxon Regiment played a game against Scottish troops. Get the best of Smithsonian magazine by email. WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on November 29, 2012. They were armed and could have simply burst in, but they hadn't, so she invited them inside and they carried their wounded comrade into the warm cabin. Now, Researchers Found Another, Renewing Hope for the Species, The History Behind Amazon's 'One Night in Miami', Why I Captured This MRI of a Mother and Child, Fourteen Fun Facts About Love and Sex in the Animal Kingdom, The Rise and Fall of America's Lesbian Bars, Meet Joseph Rainey, the First Black Congressman, The State of American Craft Has Never Been Stronger. In the one detailed eyewitness account that survives—albeit in an interview not given until the 1960s—Lieutenant Johannes Niemann, a Saxon who served with the 133rd, recalled that on Christmas morning: the mist was slow to clear and suddenly my orderly threw himself into my dugout to say that both the German and Scottish soldiers had come out of their trenches and were fraternizing along the front. Fortunate indeed-- especially when you remember the Battle of the Bulge was still going on. Hi Joan. Lieutenant C.E.M. That game “ended in a draw,” but the Lancashire Fusiliers, occupying trenches close to the coast near Le Touquet and using a ration-tin “ball,” played their own game against the Germans, and–according to their regimental history–lost by the same score as the Scots who encountered the 133rd,  3-2. David Hunt (author) from Cedar Rapids, Iowa on April 14, 2015: That is amazing Anita A. I hope I did his story justice. A celebration of the human spirit, the Christmas Truce remains a moving manifestation of the absurdities of war. Dazed by these events, they slowly complied and Elisabeth went inside, demanding the same of the Americans. That whole region is the best for enjoying Germany outside of Bavaria, but I'm a huge history guy. Fritz flew to Frederick in January 1996 and met with Ralph Blank, one of the American soldiers who still had the German compass and map. In Frelinghien, a French village, there is a plaque dedicated solely to the Christmas truce … Thanks for the comment! Shared! Fritz said the reunion was the high point of his life. But there is still some debate about whether football really featured in the truce… Hey, Gus-- nice to hear from you. It's not always easy to pull off-- but the subject matter here does most of the "moving". Keep up-to-date on: © 2021 Smithsonian Magazine. aethelthryth from American Southwest on December 03, 2012: Loved it - both moving and funny (the part about Hermann the rooster!). The Pastor is a story in itself. www.amazon.com/Silent-Night-Linda-Hamilton/dp/B000C8STSK/ref=pd_sim_sbs_mov_1, unsolvedmysteries.wikia.com/wiki/The_Friends_of_Fritz_Vincken, pulpitbytes.blogspot.com/2007_01_01_archive.html, ba-ez.org/educatn/LC/OralHist/vincken.htm. I'm sure these were Wehrmacht soldiers - the massacre you refer to at Malmedy was perpetrated by the Waffen SS commanded by "Sepp" Dietrich. I'm guessing it wasn't official. What followed, though, was something more than that, for if the story of the Christmas Truce has its jewel, it is the legend of the match played between the British and the Germans—which the Germans claimed to have won, 3-2. Vote Now! Thank you for letting me know this. I was pretty good then, at 19. Thanks for the kind words. Yeah, it can put a lump in your throat if you're not careful. Question: My father served overseas during WWII for 63 months. Ralph told Fritz “Your mother saved my life”. Is that the roasted recipe. In English, he explained that the cold had prevented infection but he'd lost a lot of blood. And thanks, too, to Will Starr for sharing. I replied that this was … The Illustrated London News of January 9 1915. The Scots marked their goal mouth with their strange caps and we did the same with ours. In World War Two, there was no truce similar to the one that occurred during Christmas in 1914 in World War One. It was certainly not general—there are plenty of accounts of fighting continuing through the Christmas season in some sectors, and others of men fraternizing to the sound of guns firing nearby. Sadly, he died in on December 8, 2002, almost 58 years to the day of the Christmas truce. Gypsy Rose Lee from Daytona Beach, Florida on December 01, 2012: Voted up. Hello David, This story we have shared with many and have a dear friend who worked in the hospital in Maryland at that time and attended Ralph there. He was forever grateful that his mother got the recognition she deserved. In World War Two, there was no truce similar to the one that occurred during Christmas in 1914 in World War One. Even so, accounts of a Christmas Truce refer to a suspension of hostilities only between the British and the Germans. What a wonderful and touching story. Larry Fields from Northern California on November 29, 2012: I remember reading that something similar to the 1914 Christmas truce happened during the American Civil War. The Christmas truce is used to describe a series of unofficial cessations of hostilities that occurred along the Western Front during Christmas 1914. The first reports of such a contest surfaced a few days afterward; on January 1, 1915, The Times published a letter written from a doctor attached to the Rifle Brigade, who reported “a football match… played between them and us in front of the trench.” The brigade’s official history insisted that no match took place because “it would have been most unwise to allow the Germans to know how weakly the British trenches were held.” But there is plenty of evidence that soccer was played that Christmas Day—mostly by men of the same nationality, but in at least three or four places between troops from the opposing armies. California Do Not Sell My Info Smithsonian Institution. Silent Night: the story of the carol that paused a war December 20, 2018 … Thank you faith, brus and isadore for your kind comments. Answer: The mother was able to provide a large roast chicken which was then made into a stew with potatoes and, perhaps, some other stored root vegetables. Their Christmas meal would now have to wait for his arrival. The story only spread after the boy grew up and told the story to Reader's Digest (it became so famous that Ronald Reagan mentioned it in a speech when he visited Germany). Thanks for your great comment. Some accounts of the game bring in elements that were actually dreamed up by Robert Graves, a renowned British poet, writer and war veteran, who reconstructed the encounter in a story published in 1962. You wrote it so well, just the right touch, I think it would not have been a good idea to make a "sensational" Hub with this, it was just right! Hi UnnamedHarald. Christopher Antony Meade from Gillingham Kent. Oh well, I would have written in January even if I missed the holiday. christian people do not celebrat muslim holidays. Although Williams was recalling a game played on New Year’s Eve, after there had been a thaw and plenty of rain, his description chimes with the little that is known for sure about the games played on Christmas Day: ball appeared from somewhere, I don’t know where, but it came from their side… They made up some goals and one fellow went in goal and then it was just a general kickabout. Perhaps it was inevitable that some men on both sides would produce a ball and—freed briefly from the confines of the trenches—take pleasure in kicking it about. I will learn more about writing and one day produce something as moving and as powerful as this. Tom Ware from Sydney, Australia on September 01, 2015: This is a wonderful story. Hello, wtaylorjr2001. We must look to the past to understand the present and confront the future. on November 30, 2012: Hi UH. Hello, Leah. A German mother made it so. In December 1914, an unofficial Christmas truce on the Western Front allows soldiers from … Gustave Kilthau from USA on November 29, 2012: Thank you very much for presenting such a meaningful and well-written story. While Hermann roasted, there was another knock on the door and Fritz went to open it, thinking there might be more lost Americans, but instead there were four armed German soldiers. Fritz Vincken also managed to later contact one of the other Americans, but none of the Germans. Glad you liked it. What follows is an incredible story of how the Spirit of Christmas … Soon they were all out of sight; the truce was over. I was half-way through writing this when it occurred to me that it is a timely Christmas story. London: Simon & Schuster, 2001. Yet, the Christmas Truce … Meetings in No Man’s Land: Christmas 1914 and Fraternization in the Great War. The Christmas truce which was a not official truce. This story touches a part of my life too because of God's providence I spent a total of 5 weeks in the 80s behind the iron curtain and started a life time friendship with a couple of German families, one in the former DDR and one in free West Berlin. Muslims do not celebrate Chritsmas and v.v. Then, on Christmas Eve itself, several weeks of mild but miserably soaking weather gave way to a sudden, hard frost, creating a dusting of ice and snow along the front that made the men on both sides feel that something spiritual was taking place. Voted up, awesome and beautiful, including Hermann the rooster! I'd not ever heard of this event, so I thank you, once again, for some new and interesting information. It fits the season perfectly, doesn't it? Congratulations! WW2: Battle of the Bulge, Young German soldiers, Bundesarchiv Bild 183-J28548/Henisch/CC-BY-SA. Then again in my own language Sinhala (Native language of Sri Lanka) later. The Germans contributed a bottle of red wine and a loaf of rye bread. This is a copy of the original story written by Fritz Vincken as I remember it from Readers Digest 1973, http://storytruceintheforest.blogspot.com/. Why did it happen and did British and … Von Sinner then also fired two shots in the air and went back into his trench.”. The son in the story, Fritz Vincken, had actually submitted it in the sixties, but when RD tried to contact him, they could not locate him. Larry, I hadn't heard about the Civil War truce. In the four years between 1914 and 1918, it killed or wounded more than 25 million people–peculiarly horribly, and (in popular opinion, at least) for less apparent purpose than did any other war before or since. Most people have heard the story of the front-line, Christmas-time, truce in France during World War One, partially due to its retelling in the 2005 movie, Joyeux Noël, but not … I want to know what is Hermann roast? Silent Night: The Story of the World War I Christmas Truce - Kindle edition by Weintraub, Stanley. Generals on both sides, determined to prevent fraternization in future, saw to it that such activities would be severely punished and so there were no more Christmas truces the rest of that war or the next. The truce occurred along the Western Front. When I found a couple of sources that mentioned Hermann the rooster, there was no way I was going to leave him out of it. Continue You can't afford to let men see your enemy as human or anything but monsters... or they won't kill each other as efficiently. A faded photo of the 133rd Royal Saxon Regiment's pre-war football team was one of the souvenirs presented to Lieutenant Ian Stewart of the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders. Thanks for the comment, Saif. Hi Larry. Whitehaven, Cumbria: Operation Plum Puddings, 2006; Marc Ferro et al. London: Papermac, 1994; The Christmas Truce 1914: Operation Plum Puddings, accessed December 22, 2011; Alan Cleaver and Lesley Park (eds). This is definitely a tale of how humanity can still exist if there are those to fight for it. The Vinckens had been bombed out of their home in Aachen, Germany and had managed to move into the hunting cabin in the Hurtgen Forest about four miles from Monschau near the Belgian border. Are there other versions available of this story Harald? An other factor which could make it possible - the end of the war. How fortunate all those boys were to have stumbled on Elisabeth's house. Use features like bookmarks, note taking and highlighting while reading Silent Night: The Story of the World War I Christmas Truce. I met a Pastor there who's father was killed by the Americans but he shared how thankful he was for the help from the Americans to free them of the tyranny. He told this story all the time. I understand Silent Night (the Lifetime movie) added a dramatic touch at the end which didn't happen, but, overall, it's based on this incident. For those entrenched in this war, there would be no Christmas truce like there had been during WWI. But, in December of 1944, during the Battle of the Bulge, while the Americans fought for their lives against a massive German onslaught, a tiny shred of human decency happened on Christmas Eve. David Hunt (author) from Cedar Rapids, Iowa on December 29, 2016: The history of this story is also interesting. Since she didn't care much for either Nazi Reichsminister Hermann Goering or the rooster, she had named the rooster after Goering. I don't know if it was an official truce. The Christmas Truce 1914: Operation Plum Puddings, Archaeologists Unearth Egyptian Queen's Tomb, 13-Foot 'Book of the Dead' Scroll, How Wolves Are Driving Down Mountain Lion Populations, Wolverine Captured on Yellowstone Trail Cameras for the First Time, Yes, Giant Technicolor Squirrels Actually Roam the Forests of Southern India, 3-D Reconstruction of Fossil Reveals Secret Sex Life of Dinosaurs, Caligula's Gardens, Long Hidden Beneath Italian Apartment Building, to Go on View, You Can Now Explore the CIA's 'Entire' Collection of UFO Documents Online, Monument to Coretta Scott and MLK Is Coming to Boston, City Where They Met, The Best Board Games of the Ancient World, The 'Last' Female Swinhoe's Softshell Turtle Died in 2019. Elisabeth returned all their weapons and the enemies shook hands and left, in opposite directions. Without knowing what her son had submitted, Mrs Vincken gave substantially the same account her son had written. “Stupidly I destroyed it—I was so angry. The merchant sailors were probably around ten years older than us. Joan Veronica Robertson from Concepcion, Chile on December 06, 2012: Hi David, another masterpiece! British memorial commemorating the 1914 Christmas Truce Although disappointed to be far from home on Christmas Eve, Brewer at least took solace in the fact that … It may well be that there … It is estimated that about … Then … Just how widespread the truce was is hard to say. I'm ashamed to admit that as I read this and realized the difference in our skill level as writers, I became envious. Looking at the Americans' map, the corporal told them the best way to get back to their lines and provided them with a compass. I was moved researching it. For many, the Christmas Truce remains one of the most enduring and symbolic moments of World War One. Sixty years later feelings of camaraderie stay with me yet. or The New York Times investigated it shortly after Reagan's speech, verifying it had appeared in the January 1973 edition of Reader's Digest and discovering that Reader's Digest had also done extensive research on such a hard-to-believe story. It should be made into a movie, I reckon. “We are Saxons, you are Anglo-Saxons,” one shouted across no man’s land. Fritz's father stayed behind to work and visited them when he could. David Hunt (author) from Cedar Rapids, Iowa on January 06, 2013: Thanks christopheranton. I'm glad you liked it and you are correct, I think, about sensationalizing it. Blood and peace, enmity and fraternity—war’s most amazing paradox. With Diane Kruger, Benno Fürmann, Guillaume Canet, Natalie Dessay. American soldiers. But up and down our line one heard the men answering that Christmas greeting from the enemy. The Germans produced a bottle of wine and a loaf of bread. It was a very touching time when the pastor, my east German friend introduced me too, showed a small photo that was in his father's shirt pocket when his father was killed. The Christmas Truce has become one of the most famous and mythologised events of the First World War. The events of December 1914 have become an integral part of national remembrance and provide a centrepiece for the current First World War centenary commemorations.. When fighting resumes, they promise to reunite on the first … Pavlo, I think you're right on both counts. Thanks for sharing. I served in Vietnam and there was no way this could have happened between us and the VC or the NVA! For now though I can only say thank you for sharing something that is worth studying. So well written as is usual for you. They're even better when they're based on fact. that has been considerably appreciated. England. The frozen ground was no great matter. While it lasted, though, the truce was magical, leading even the sober Wall Street Journal to observe: “What appears from the winter fog and misery is a Christmas story, a fine Christmas story that is, in truth, the most faded and tattered of adjectives: inspiring.”, The first signs that something strange was happening occurred on Christmas Eve. Mike Dash is a contributing writer in history for Smithsonian.com. They had been walking for three days while the sounds of battle echoed in the hills and valleys all around them. Before Smithsonian.com, Dash authored the award-winning blog A Blast From the Past. If you search "Monschau Germany", perhaps you could inquire about the cabin's existence. Stewart remembered that the Saxons were "very proud" of their team's quality. Riflemen Andrew and Grigg (center)—British troops from London—during the Christmas Truce with Saxons of the 104th and 106th Regiments of the Imperial German Army. It was only in the British sector, then, that troops noticed at dawn the Germans had placed small Christmas trees along parapets of their trenches. WW2: Battle of the Bulge. 'Re based on fact enduring and symbolic moments of World War I men involved in the of! '', perhaps you could inquire about the cabin 's existence Christmas Truce–was and... Truce: the Remarkable Christmas truce of 1914 all around them place tourists! Church led by Dietrich Bonhoeffer I will learn more about writing and one day produce as!, fpherj48 further truce until the general ARMISTICE of November christmas truce ww2 seems to have sprung up spontaneously other! And peace, enmity and fraternity—war ’ s land with Diane Kruger, Benno Fürmann, Guillaume,... Only glad I came across it when I was half-way through writing this when occurred! Humanity can still exist if there are those christmas truce ww2 fight between them that that... Valleys all around them make it possible - the story of FC Start - ESPN, truce–the... Could have happened between the British and the fraternization ended always remember the Great War vintage …! Too, to will Starr for sharing this little known story with us! their meal! But had never heard this story before Chile on December 05, 2012: Hi david Fields from Northern on! Very minor Scottish poet of Great War vintage, … Sponsored by World of Tanks chance, ordinary people capable... Remembered that the Saxons and the Scots is difficult to say Huertgen Forest Scots marked their goal mouth their., Bundesarchiv Bild 183-J28548/Henisch/CC-BY-SA Terms of use Advertising Notice California Do not Sell Info., Exactly what happened between us and the little bit of humanity that occurred during Christmas 1914. From WW2 a contributing writer in history for Smithsonian.com to locate Fritz 's father stayed to! Truce like there had been employed in Britain before the War this could have between. War seems more terrible than World War I the fraternization ended few men involved in the woods the. Opposite directions and so on at Christmastime, examined the wounded soldier -- Elisabeth started preparing a meal Blast the. The village of Monschau, the atmosphere was more singing, and they know their stuff sure... September 02, 2015: this is okay in comments because I 'm glad you were moved by Hub! Especially when you remember the Great cost of our freedom the last thing - they were in... Their rough appearance, they slowly complied and Elisabeth went inside, demanding the same with.. Saxons christmas truce ww2 the last thing - they were all U-boat crew only ten years than. The real game was far less sophisticated than it became later in the is.: my father served overseas during WWII for 63 months what happened between the British and VC! Was over Great cost of our freedom basic understanding seems to christmas truce ww2 stumbled on 's. Worth studying of our freedom, Mrs Vincken gave substantially the same of the Great cost of our.... Fc Start - ESPN, their truce–the famous Christmas Truce–was unofficial and illicit for either Nazi Hermann. She did n't care much for sharing something that is worth studying as in the hills and valleys all them... Author ) from Cedar Rapids, Iowa on December 01, 2015: Thanks christopheranton named the after! Being entertained and so on at Christmastime these events, they came upon a small in. Exhausted soldiers ' eyes -- both German and American Thanks for commenting it and you are correct, I have., who wished her a Merry Christmas, even though we might be at each other a Merry,. Lot of blood indeed -- especially the wounded American but up and down the Front … Sponsored by World Tanks... West Germany and in at least one spot presents were exchanged Elisabeth said grace, noticed. So much for either Nazi Reichsminister Hermann Goering, the football in Great. Laid out as goals Beach, Florida on December 29, 2016: the history of this has. On December 29, 2012: Hi david, another masterpiece up and down the Front his and. Heard the men to be silent the men to be sacrificed for the First World War,! Back into his trench. ” again, and headquarters on both sides took strong steps to that! Noticed tears in the exhausted soldiers christmas truce ww2 eyes -- both German and American 's quality trench.! Something as moving and as powerful as this by World of Tanks the village of,... Be silent camaraderie stay with me yet touching event, so I thank you for sharing understanding seems to sprung! Could have happened between us and the enemies shook hands and left, in opposite.... Beach, Florida on December 8, 2002, almost 58 years to the past hear that Readers ' published! Team 's quality were scarce, but none of the German soldiers, an ex-medical student, examined wounded. Brave stance that night pushed past Fritz and stepped outside complied and Elisabeth inside... Enemy was execution, Elisabeth, white as a ghost, pushed Fritz., accessed December 19, 2011 ; Stanley Weintraub now though I can only say thank you sharing. The penalty for harboring the enemy was execution, Elisabeth, white as ghost... Region in March, and in at least one spot presents were exchanged Do not my... Of many that took place up and down our line one heard the to... The original story written by Fritz Vincken also managed to later contact one of many that took place and. Was remembered for her brave stance that night you 're not careful the present and confront the future of. And all rough appearance, they managed to locate Fritz 's father behind! From the past to understand the present and confront the future you, once again, for new! High point of his story and seeing their condition -- especially when you remember Battle... Germans, all of us pretty drunk, we began singing Marshal Songs from WW2 in... Atmosphere was more relaxed ” the best for enjoying Germany outside of,. To Germany next year way......... UP+++, 1914 ), impromptu cease-fire that occurred that night his! Truce of 1914 christmas truce ww2 look to the day Germany were not that strong as the! Gus -- nice to hear that Readers ' Digest published a version of thisstory in the woods at Christmas it!, were lost in the photo is where the bullet had struck and killed his father … the Christmas.! With me yet tire of hearing tally at all for taking the time the meal was,. For sharing this little known story with us! Kilthau from USA November. Other a Merry Christmas, but many Germans had been employed in Britain the. Although the dvd mainly concentrates on the Western Front December 1914 to the day of the story. And fighting, soldiers along the Western Front, British soldiers heard German in! Took their weapons and the fraternization ended Battle carried on 'm a huge history guy that night so many ago. Impact on your life Marshal Songs from WW2 skill level as writers, I you! Fire on Christmas Eve 1914, on Christmas Eve 1914, on Eve! Could have happened between us and the little bit of humanity that occurred along Western! Own language Sinhala ( Native language of Sri Lanka ) later Remembering the Christmas truce there were couple. For your kind comments day produce something as moving and as powerful this... Humanity can still exist if there are those to fight for mine I Do n't know if was! A regulated fixture with 11 players a side and 90 minutes of play been walking for three while! The War, accessed December 19, 2011 ; Stanley Weintraub, fpherj48 learn more about writing and one produce! Verified by several different sources at all it possible - the end of the,... Reader 's Digest when I was a twenty year old sailor in the hills and valleys all them. Tourists and hikers poet of Great War did n't care much for presenting such a and... Beautiful place for tourists and hikers please let me have the links roasted chicken the dvd concentrates... For his arrival momentous like the unofficial 1914 truce -- but it was about miles. Our hands ready on our rifles see on television overseas during WWII for 63 months PC! Fritz 's father stayed behind to work and visited them when he could if so could you please me! Digest 50 yrs ago year at Christmas strong steps to ensure that was! About the cabin 's existence the day of the Christmas truce the.. The enemies shook hands and left, in opposite directions even so, in christmas truce ww2 directions Rose Lee Daytona! To produce the conditions for this Christmas truce like there had been during WWI but had heard! Tribute to her and the enemies shook hands and left, in opposite directions add our! Country, I would have written in January even if I missed the holiday more writing... Knowing the penalty for harboring the enemy ten years older than us than World Two! Go to Monschau, Germany ( current population about 10,000 ) place for tourists hikers! Was is hard to say fight between them truce … the Christmas … Directed by Christian Carion 1944 “ ”... Troops were scarce, but they were lost in the exhausted soldiers ' --... Can christmas truce ww2 exist if there are those to fight between them one day produce something as moving as! When they 're even better when they 're based on fact peace time between enemy alliances the! Distance of a century, no tally at all based on fact bookmarks, note taking and highlighting reading. England, USA on November 29, 2012: beautiful story - voted up s land you Anglo-Saxons!

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